An adorable toddler born with Down’s Syndrome is set to become a globally recognizable child model after being snapped up by a casting agency.
Connie-Rose Seabourne, from Morley, near Leeds, caught the attention of a number of scouts after her mother Julie Britton, 42, sent them photographs of her.
Now the 23-month-old has bagged two high-profile campaigns.
Connie-Rose’s proud mom Julie says her baby girl’s blossoming modelling career is a sign that her daughter’s disability ‘does not define who she is’.
Connie-Rose was born two months premature and was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome when she was just two weeks old.
But Julie and her partner Peter Seabourne, 44 were not fazed at all.
Julie said: ‘I was assessed as being at higher risk of having a baby with Down’s Syndrome when I was pregnant and could have had the diagnostic test to find out but I didn’t want it because it just wasn’t an issue.’
‘We weren’t bothered at all. We have friends whose children have been diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome and have had nothing but positive experiences of children with the diagnosis’
‘There’s so much support out there – it isn’t a problem. It’s just another little baby who needs to be loved.’
When Julie and Peter took their daughter home from the hospital, friends and family remarked that Connie-Rose had a ‘very cheeky’ smile and should become a model.
Julie then decided to ask an expert to see if it was possible.
She said: ‘I sent an email with a picture of Connie-Rose to a model agency to ask them if they were interested or whether I was just fooling myself.’
‘We got a response back straight away to say they were definitely interested.
‘When I spoke to the agencies about her Down’s Syndrome diagnosis, no one even batted an eyelid. I think I was more bothered about it than anyone else and it definitely doesn’t bother me!’
Julie sent out pictures of Connie-Rose to three top modelling agencies. They then contacted her to arrange test shoots to see how Connie-Rose would perform in front of the cameras.
Julie said: ‘She absolutely loved it. She follows direction very well and she has so much fun in front of the cameras.’
‘She’s already been given two contracts but we can’t say what for. She’s had so many photographs of her taken by me that she’s just used to it!’
Even though Connie-Rose is slowly building up a portfolio, Julie says she wouldn’t hesitate to put the brakes on her career if her daughter asked to stop.
She said: ‘As soon as it gets too much for her or she doesn’t like it, we’ll stop. The first sign that she’s not enjoying it, we’ll stop. What she wants to do is the most important thing in all of this.’
Julie is also very positive about the experiences she has had raising a Down-Syndrome child.
She said: ‘We’ve had so much support from so many people and so many positive experiences.’
‘I do think people could perhaps be a little more educated about what wording to use. Connie-Rose’s disability does not define who she is.’
‘She has Down’s Syndrome, it’s not that she is Down’s Syndrome. That’s the major problem we face but that’s about education.’
Julie now helps other parents whose children have recently been diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome.
She said: ‘Some parents struggle with the idea of Down’s Syndrome initially and think that life isn’t going to be the same again. I try to explain just how much support there is out there for them.
‘The inclusiveness and equality that my family has experienced has been amazing. It’s absolutely fantastic that Connie-Rose will be in the public eye – it’s just so positive.’